Happy New Year, from everyone at Burrator!

On Wednesday 29 January, we hosted our New Year (and belated Christmas) meal for volunteers, to say a massive thank you for all their hard work over 2019. This involved lots of food, the infamous quiz and Jenga, of course!
In preparation for our annual update to the Burrator Advisory Group, I collated all our results over the last 6 years and I think the results are amazing! In addition to the capital works and improvements carried out, our volunteers and local supporters have enabled us to:

  • Host 126 work experience students
  • Deliver 896 learning sessions (formal and informal) for 17,604 attendees
  • Facilitate 66 rural skills and volunteer training days for 455 people
  • Organise 208 events attended by 10,727 people
  • Enable 9319 volunteer days in site maintenance, conservation, education, and much more

In total, we have directly engaged with a staggering 28,912 people, not including volunteers, visitors to the centre and those we meet around site.  They have had the chance to find out about the work of SWLT, learn about Burrator’s unique history, and feel inspired to look after the area for the future. 

In regards to keeping in touch, we will continue to write this newsletter every three months to keep you up to date on Burrator news. 
This year SWLT celebrates its 20th birthday, so if you would like to find out what’s happening at other reservoirs, you can subscribe for free to the monthly SWLT e-newsletter: www.swlakestrust.org.uk.

Looking forward to seeing you around Burrator in 2020!

Garland making at Burrator

“I just wanted to say a big thank you for today’s wreath making session. My 11 year old granddaughter Amelia thoroughly enjoyed it and the wreath she made was awesome.  Your volunteers were also lovely, a special thanks to Linda who was so kind and patient with Amelia.”

On Saturday December 21st we held our popular Christmas garland making day. Due to the demand last year, we experimented with timed sessions which were successful, ensuring that there was both space and materials available for everyone.
The decorative materials were collected from around our site or from our volunteers' gardens. Many participants provided their own and as always, the results were impressive. 76 adults and 11 children joined us on the day and a total of 70 garlands were made. We were pleased to see participants from previous years as well as newcomers. As always, tea, coffee and mince pies were a welcome treat. The money raised from this event will help towards our fundraising for materials to build our easy access path on the lower lawn/outdoor education area.

Third Tavistock Rangers programme completed

For 10 weeks over autumn, we hosted our third Tavistock Rangers Programme, this time for eight Year 9 students.  Topics included charcoal making, coppicing, orienteering, shelter building, outdoor cooking, water filter construction, road safety and personal safety, including how to find and rescue someone on the moor (provided by Dartmoor Search and Rescue). For their last session, the students learnt how to use green woodworking tools to make their own reindeers and received their John Muir Awards. Thank you again to Ian, Andy from Tavistock College and Jules from Devon and Cornwall Police for making this unique project possible.

Exciting new ESOL project

In addition to one-day school visits on ‘water source to sea’, the ‘I Love Water Project’ is also looking to develop mini learning programmes. One example of this is an 8-week programme we have just started with the ESOL department of City College Plymouth. Every Tuesday 17 students aged 16-19 come to Burrator to learn about the construction of the reservoir and the water treatment process, explore the area, and carry out practical conservation tasks, with the ultimate goal to create a short film about water, with the added dimension of looking at the provision of water in their home countries. For the final session, the students will host a visit for their peers and be their tour guides around the site.

Glorious gates

Over the winter our Tuesday site volunteer team, recently named by a volunteer as ‘the heavy gang’, have been busy dealing with fallen trees, improving drainage on key footpaths and tracks, making our first ever willow tit bird boxes for several other sites, and are now currently getting creative and making the first of a series of new pedestrian gates out of Burrator wood.

Wet and wild

Undeterred by the very wet weather in January, our midweek and weekend groups have been out working hard, continuing to carry out coppicing projects in several compartments around the area, willow management in one of the new tree plantations, and removing rhododendron re-growth, in particular around the Longstone peninsula.   

Event Dates for the Diary

School Holiday ‘Drop In’ Family Activity Day
Wednesday 19 February: 10am - 3pm

Our school holiday family activity days involve a wildlife or heritage themed trail, woodwork, environmental art and outdoor cooking in and around the Burrator Discovery Centre. £3 per child, £2 per adult (cash only please). Please wear outdoor clothing and footwear. No booking needed.
For more information or to book your place on any of the above events, please call 01822 855700, email: [email protected] or pop into the Discovery Centre (PL20 6PE)

Practical Volunteering Days

For all the days we meet at the Discovery Centre. Please wear old clothes and sturdy footwear, bring lunch and a drink, and dress ready for ‘all the seasons in a day!'
  • Monday 10 February – 10am-3pm - Sam
  • Sunday 23 February – 10.30am-3.30pm - Emily
  • Friday 28 February – 10am-3pm - Emily
  • Tuesday 3 March – 10am-3pm – Sam
  • Monday 9 March – 10am-3pm - Sam
  • Sunday 22 March – 10.30am-3.30pm - Emily
  • Friday 27 March – 10am-3pm - Emily
  • Monday 6 April – 10am-3pm – Sam
  • Tuesday 14 April – 10am-3pm - Sam
  • Sunday 19 April – 10.30am-3.30pm - Emily
  • Friday 24 April – 10am-3pm - Emily
If you don’t have your own transport please e-mail Emily at [email protected] or Sam at [email protected] and we can pick you up from Yelverton bus stop.

Discovery Centre Opening Times, 10.00am - 4.00pm

Weekdays: Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday


  • February: Sat 1, Sat 15 and Sun 23
  • March: Sat 7, Sat 14, Sun 22 and Sat 28